Niger State Speaker halts wedding plans for 100 girls, calls for investigation into child rights abuse allegations

Speaker Abdulmalik Sarkindaji

Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, the Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, has decided to withdraw his backing for the proposed mass wedding involving 100 orphans within his constituency. 

Instead, he has urged the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, to look into allegations of child rights violations. 

During a press briefing at the House of Assembly complex in Minna, Sarkindaji expressed his dissatisfaction with the minister's stance on the mass wedding and her support for orphans whose families are unable to cover wedding expenses.

The Speaker appeared visibly disturbed by the negative media coverage linked to the minister's statements, emphasizing that he was not approached for clarification before conclusions were made on the issue.

This comes a day after the minister condemned the proposed marriages, stating that they violate the Child Rights Act and raise serious concerns about the ages and consent of the girls involved.

She petitioned the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, seeking his support to stop the planned marriage by the Speaker.

Kennedy-Ohanenye also filed for a court injunction to stop the planned marriage of 100 orphans said to be children by the Speaker.

According to her, the decision became necessary to stop the plan of the speaker to marry young girls due to the increasing number of orphans married to bandits.

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